New PFAS Rules: What it Means for You

In April 2024, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced two new rules, the first-ever national standard for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) compounds in drinking water and the designation of two PFAS compounds as Superfund hazardous substances.

  1. The drinking water rule restricts PFAS exposure through limits on selected PFAS compounds and a hazard index where specific PFAS compounds may be mixed and present. With millions of Americans potentially affected by PFAS exposure through drinking water sources, this action will help prevent exposure and safeguard public health.
  2. Under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), also known as Superfund, EPA has issued a rule to designate perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), and their salts and structural isomers, as hazardous substances. PFOA and PFOS are older compounds and in recent years have been removed from many products. The CERCLA designations support environmental actions and expedited cleanups.

The new rules mark key steps forward in setting clear standards and protecting communities. Here’s what this means for impacted groups:

The Public: The routine testing of public drinking water systems has more stringent PFAS standards to meet with these new standards in place. Fortunately, technologies and systems have been developed over the last decades to reduce PFAS to safe drinking water levels should treatment be needed. Ultimately this means the public will be seeing and hearing a lot more about projects around the country aimed at removing PFAS from water sources.

Municipalities: Municipalities will benefit from the additional $1 billion in funding provided through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to combat PFAS pollution. This funding will support the detection and treatment of PFAS in drinking water systems, helping local governments meet the new standard and provide clean, safe water to their residents. However, according to professional water associations, upgrading every urban and rural water treatment system up to the new standard will need five times the funds annually. Municipalities across the country have now been forced to address conditions where they are out-of-compliance with federal standards. Designing and implementing treatment solutions to bring them back into compliance is not a quick or cheap process. Reducing and eliminating PFAS compounds from our water sources will be a multi-generational problem, and we will likely see growing demand on municipalities that develop treatment solutions that can provide assurances to water-users their drinking water is safe to distribute and consume.

Federal Agencies: To start this process, the $9 billion investment in tackling PFAS pollution as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law enables federal agencies to implement solutions protective of public health and the environment. Of the $9 billion, $5.8 billion has been set aside for drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and $3.5 billion has been allocated to Superfund cleanup work. Federal agencies and all military branches have been working since the 2000s to better understand PFAS issues and risks at federal sites. Where Superfund rules apply, the additional funding means that federal agencies can better prioritize sites to expedite high-level investigations and assess potential exposure risks.

How Bay West Can Help:

Bay West is leading PFAS destruction research on multiple fronts. Our team specializes in subsurface treatment, offering physical, chemical, and enhanced biological treatments to mitigate PFAS threats. With our innovative bioremediation approaches, we are working to provide long-term solutions that eliminate the need for costly point-of-contact treatment technologies. We also help companies bring their PFAS-related technology to market by providing expertise and support to navigate the complex regulatory landscape and accelerate product development with robust testing. Additionally, our strong communications team ensures that technical information is easily understandable for the public, and we provide expert guidance for municipalities and regulatory agencies to meet and exceed regulatory standards. When you partner with Bay West, you gain access to comprehensive solutions tailored to your needs, backed by 50 years of experience and expertise in start-to-finish environmental remediation.


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